Permanent, Waterfast Printing on
Fabric, Yes at Last
Note from the Editor added October
A new product called Bubble Jet Set 2000
the inkjet printing on its head with its ability to create permanent printouts
on cotton and silk. To check it out, click
Note from the Editor added November
As is often the case of evolving technology, now there
is a high quality fabric pretreated and ready to run through your printer.
For additional information, check out June Tailor Colorfast Printer
, click here.
Note from the Editor for the
newletter article of April 1999 below: Over the last year a
new development has occurred with some printers. Many are offering waterproof
ink that is proving to be very useful for printing on fabric. Below are
a couple of the printers using these new permanent inks or waterproofing
Additional Resources and ideas for printing on fabric
Sorry, we have had to removed to links to articles
on using , Retayne, or Downy Softener
(which turned out to be not very permanent) at Patchword.com because
that website is no longer viable and takes all clicks to an offensive
Wendy Zozuk from West Lakes, South Australia shares
her experiments and successes for printing on Fabric using various Methods
including specific instructions for printing on fabric with the Canon
Printer 7000 series and its P-POP technology for printing waterfast
on plain paper or fabric.
For printing on fabric I have been using a Canon printer (BJC 7000).
Printing with this printer is slightly different than fabric printing
on other printers. This sounds like an ad for Canon but I have no affiliation
with them, except they loaned me one of these babies (BJC 7000) to make
my memory quilt.
The main problem with printing on Fabric is colorfastness. I've been
testing Canon's printer, it has a special feature which seems to overcome
the colourfast problem. (the 7000 series are the only models of Canon
printer to have this feature) Canon call it P-POP technology the printer
squirts an optimizer/chemical onto the fabric before squirting out the
ink - the combo of these makes the printing waterfast on plain paper to
But that doesn't mean you can't print with other printers - it just means
you will need to set the printed fabric somehow to make it colourfast.
You have three choices that are permanent and colorfast.
1. Print to computer transfer paper and iron on.
2. Photocopy your photos to photo transfer paper and iron them on.
3. Print using Canon's treated fabric sheets - they are made for computers
and comes with its own sachet of fixer to make the print permanent. Printing
to "normal" fabric will leave you with a noncolourfast item.
I have used the first two products with great success. Though I find
Transfer papers alter the handle of the fabric slightly.
There is another method which involves printing directly on fabric using
a laser or bubblejet printer, and then spraying with several coats of
'Krylon Workable Fixatif No. 1306' to set the ink. I haven't tried this
method, so can't comment on it.
If you do put your fabric through the printer, make sure you back the
fabric with something like freezer paper or a manila folder (cut in half
- so you only have a single sheet). Cut the fabric slightly smaller than
the backing paper, and I like to use sticky tape and stick the fabric
to backing paper (manila), making sure the sticky tape covers all the
fabric edges. That way I don't have to worry about loose threads getting
stuck on my printers head.
For printing on signature squares / labels, you could always put the
fabric through the printer as I've described above, then use a permanent
marking pen to go over the design. I like this method because my drawing
abilities are best suited to tracing.
I came upon the info about the 7000 by accident, when I rang Canon's
head office in Adelaide (South Australia) to ask about their fabric sheets
This information is based on my experience and research only. Best of
luck with your printing.
To print on Fabric with the BJC7000 and BJC7100
1) Fabric - any fabric can be used but it can't be wider than the width
of a sheet of manila folder.(lightweight card)
2) Use a Manila folder to back the fabric - Roger (the guy from Canon
who taught me this) found the best way is to cut a manila folder in half
along the fold - giving two single sheets. Or use A4 Certificate paper.
I am sure there are plenty of other ways to support the fabric for it's
ride through the printer - this is just the way I did it :-)
3) cut out a piece of fabric any size but not larger than your manila
folder - I use (8"x 10"),
4) use sticky tape and tape the fabric to the manila sheet - using sticky
tape around all the fabric edges seals the edges of the fabric as well
as attaches it to the backing sheet and ensures that no threads get onto
the printer head
= top of sticky tape
= edge of fabric
= bottom edge of sticky tape
The edge of the manila sheet needs to be straight as this is the guide
edge for the printing try not to get sticky tape over this edge.
5) Select "plain Paper" in the menu on the printer setup where
it asks for paper types
It is a simple as that.
No need to heat set or iron the fabric after printing, just allow to dry
naturally, it doesn't take long. The optimizer that the printer lays down
on the fabric when you select plain paper chemically alters the ink making
it colourfast. (I usually do apply heat using an iron to the printed area
of the fabric after it has dried - just to be sure)
When printing I did make one mistake and forgot to make sure the printer
was set to print on 'plain paper' the result was a duller image and some
bleeding of the dyes into the fabric. All the others that I printed turned
***So the most important thing is to make sure your printer is set for
plain paper - even though you are sending fabric through.***
Wendy is developing a web site, which she says still has teething problems,
but has some very informative on designing a sewing room, block of the
month, and a photo album of her quilts. Be sure to visit
to send a thank you to Wendy, e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rose Smith shares her experience using her printer,
the Lexmark 2050 Printer to create waterfast labels using its Permanent
Hi everyone...I have been reading about the fabric printing, I have a
Lexmark 2050 Printer, and I have been making labels for quite some time
and never have had a problem with the washing. The print cartridge for
the black comes with the words "super sharp waterproof" written
on the cartridge box.
I never have done any in color, but the color cartridge box doesn't say
anything about waterproof.
Note from the editor: Other Lexmark printers use the same Black Waterproof
Ink, check out your model and print cartridge packaging.
Norma McKone shares her information using Krylon
as a fixative to create waterfast labels that can be applied to any Inkjet
or laser print out without permanent ink technology.
In 1991 I was living in Maryland and there was a very nice craft/art
store that I frequented. I tried printing on fabric using my HP printer
for labels for my quilts. I ironed muslin to freezer paper and cut the
proper size for sending through the printer. The printer worked fine,
but the ink was not permanent and I tried everything I could think of
.... ironing with vinegar, pressing with a very hot iron, ect. still was
Then I ask my friends at the craft shop and they helped me choose a few
spray stabilizers for art work. We finally came upon the Krylon Fixative
#1306. It was more stable and at least stayed on the fabric through a
few washings before fading. We discovered the best method was to wash
the muslin first for best ink penetration, print with your Inkjet, use
several light coats of Krylon, letting dry between and then press from
the paper side. After that you can remove the paper and press on the back
and then on the front side. If you have not let it dry completely (overnight
is good) you might smear the ink with the iron. This is not perfect, but
it is the best method I have used. I shared it with my online friends
and there have been some variations with the new technology and printers.
If the ink is water soluble in your printer, it will be more difficult
to get a permanent result. Good luck.
Quilters Dream Cotton Batting-Mega Sheen & YLI Silk & Qltg thread-Wallet
Creekside Needleworks web page: http://people.delphi.com/battwoman/
"The Quilter's Computer Companion" by Judy
Heim and Gloria Hansen is a must have book for those interested in creating
images with printers to be used in quilting!
by Sharla Hicks
When I was pulling together this section on Printing on fabric, bells
began going off. I again went to my trusty book of all treasures for computer
quilters, "The Quilter's Computer Companion" by Judy Heim and
Gloria Hansen. I continue to be amazed by the quantity and quality of
information they include in the book. Printing the image often is not
enough, the best print outs are accomplished by knowing the limitations
and pluses of printing on fabric.
One limitation is the cost printing on fabric using inkjet cartridges
that can cost between $25 - $30 and rising. So Gloria and Judy give you
food for thought about what technique or method you might want to choose.
They include extensive information on every technique imaginable from
using T-Shirt Transfer Sheets, Fabric Sheets, Photo Transfer Sheets, Color
Copy from a copier machine, to techniques using dye fixatives for setting
your water soluble inkjet inks and laser printer toner, most of which
still are not waterproof. Hopefully this continues to change as we have
seen with the two printers mentioned above.
Judy and Gloria include quality, much needed information to create a
high quality image before you even start the printing process. Your print
out will never be any better than the quality of your image BEFORE it
is printed! They include hints and tips on adjusting ink saturation, DPI
(dots per inch) for scanning, programs that are helpful for adjusting
photo scans, mirroring, color adjustments, the best formats to use for
the image and much more. This really is the Bible to get you started on
Fabric Printing for quilts.
They include information on novelty techniques like using your printer
to create stencils and negatives for fabric painting, sun printing and
This book also includes excellent information on a wide variety of programs
for both graphic and quilt software that can be used to create images
for quilters. The book includes information on using both the PC and the
MAC (not users are not left out in this book you have equal coverage)
with the following: CorelDRAW, Canvas, SuperPaint, Quilt-Pro, and Electric
Quilt. The best part of about this information is that even though it
might be specific to certain programs, they all have a similar operating
base so you can always take the information to other graphical programs
and with a little hunting and tweaking create fabric images in almost
any program. Judy and Gloria have laid the ground work now you become
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